UPDATE 1-EU fines Yazaki, other car parts suppliers $182 mln
BRUSSELS, July 10 (Reuters) - EU competition regulators have fined several car parts makers, including Japan's Yazaki, a total of 141.8 million euros ($182 million) for taking part in cartels that affected car makers such as Toyota Motor Corp and Renault.
The sanctions from the European Commission are expected to be the first of several against car parts suppliers, which are under investigation for fixing prices for products ranging from thermal systems to seat belts and ball bearings.
U.S. and Japanese antitrust regulators have already levied hefty fines on several parts producers, with more than 10 people jailed in the United States.
The European Commission said on Wednesday the companies took part in five cartels
It imposed the biggest fine of 125.3 million euros on Yazaki, the world's number one maker of so-called car wire harnessing systems, which power up the electronic components linking a vehicle's computers to various functions.
Yazaki's subsidiary S-Y Systems was fined 11 million euros, Furukawa Electric 4 million euros and German peer Leoni 1.38 million euros.
World number two supplier Sumitomo Electric was not fined because it alerted regulators to the existence of the cartel, confirming a Reuters story on July 5.
The Commission said car parts affected by the cartels were sold to Toyota, Honda, Nissan and Renault, with the cartels operating between 2000 and 2009.
"Such cartels may harm the competitiveness of the automotive industry and artificially inflate prices for final buyers of cars," EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said.
The fines for the car parts suppliers were cut by 10 percent, on top of other discounts, after they admitted to taking part in the cartels.
($1 = 0.7821 euros)
(Reporting by Robert-Jan Bartunek; Editing by Foo Yun Chee and Mark Potter)